State-owned Coal India on Thursday said it expects to seal deals worth $1.7 billion (about Rs. 7,700 crore) with foreign firms this month for mining coal abroad.

“We are likely to finalise $1.7 billion foreign partnership pacts this month for mining about 280 million tonnes of coal over a period of 10 years,” Coal India Chairman Partha S. Bhattacharyya told reporters here on the sidelines of a conference on “Challenges in Coal Sector,” organised by Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE).

“Due diligence is being done on five proposals from three global companies for partnerships in Australia, Indonesia and the U.S.,” Mr. Bhattacharyya said.

The company has already appointed three consultants — DSP Merrill Lynch, Royal Bank of Canada and Royal Bank of Scotland — for fast-tracking the proposed ventures. The world’s largest coal producer, which meets nearly 82 per cent of the country’s requirement of the dry fuel, has already named U.S.—based Peabody as a possible ally for such ventures.

At present, the company is looking to forge equity and joint venture agreements with the concerned companies, but it may consider entering into off-take pacts later.

In the current fiscal, CIL has earmarked 60 per cent out of its total capital outlay of about Rs. 10,000 crore for such global deals.

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